I’ve procrastinated all my life and I’m seriously over it.
It’s not that I’ve put off doing something about my procrastination either.
The past 20 years I’ve tried to give it up, stop it, curb it, train it, trick it, re-label it and even ignore it…nothing has worked until yesterday.
I realised, from a very young age, we naturally procrastinate. It’s our innate way of gravitating toward things we’d prefer doing – something we enjoy more or that allows us to escape and be transported somewhere other than where we are.
At school we’re disciplined. We need to do our homework before we go out to play. We have to read our school books before we spend time buried in The Famous Five. Work then follows with the same parameters, so does home with the endless list of chores to do before we write our journal, watch a movie or play in the garden with the kids.
Sadly we swiftly lose touch with our natural inclinations, and worse frown on them as time wasters and de-prioritise them.
A key to discovering our life’s purpose is to remember what we loved to do as a child – what distracted us the most from what we were meant to be doing? Bug collecting, reading, making endless mixed tapes, playing board games, writing stories, doing all the girl’s hair at school, riding your BMX through the bush, drama practice, cooking?
Then start to notice and embrace what you choose to do when procrastinating. As soon as I decided, instead of making a daily misery of trying to stop gravitating to the inevitable distractions in my life, I’ll just make some room for them to happen – I leapt closer to feeling my life’s purpose.
I stopped seeing myself ‘procrastinating’ and just noticed I was drifting to what I actually want to do more and welcomed these areas into my life with a stronger focus.
Most importantly, making this small mental change stopped me constantly trying to push a shift uphill and feeling like a complete failure in this department – daily!
Now, 20% of my day is filled, joyfully, with ‘things I’d rather be doing and 80% is committed to tasks and work with much less stress and resistance.
If your distractions are unproductive, addictive or destructive also acknowledge these and use your awareness. Dedicate time in combating these or turning them into something more productive by first looking at what your activity ‘gives’ you (avoidance, numbing, adrenalin rush, power). What help can you seek to help heal your need or have it fulfilled in more positive ways? You’re calling may be to turn a less productive skill (gaming) into a positive (blogging about gaming, driving a following and making money from advertising) or to inspire others to heal and recover.
Never put off till tomorrow what you can cancel today!
I now look at why I resist a certain task or job and honour how I feel. If something don’t sit well with me and I’d rather not be involved or responsible I simply cancel it.
Look at the things you avoid and ask yourself “is there any way I can cancel this?”
If you’re uncomfortable, compromised, tired of, resisting or resenting a task or even a relationship, be courageous and cancel it, remove yourself from it or just say no. From having to call Aunt Melba everyday to volunteering your only free time to the school, being in a draining friendship or unsatisfying job, there are areas to cancel, change or be less committed to.
By embracing what you’d rather be doing you’ll be more committed and satisfied than ever
After all, this is your life and only you have the key….